Monday, June 18, 2012

Stone/Bottleworks 13th Anniversary

Type: Strong Ale
Origin: Escondido, CA
Price: $6/22oz
ABV: 11.4% 
NSP: 12.35

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Brendan and I cracked this this other night- I guess we were sort of on a quad/strong ale kick that night (3 Philosophers, Val Dieu, and AleSmith Grand Cru were the guests of honor) and this seemed to fit the bill.  Seattle-based beer store Bottleworks commissioned this beer from Stone to honor the 13th anniversary of their business.  As such, it is composed of 13 grains and 13 hops.  Stone had aimed at getting it up to 13% ABV, but apparently with the combo of grains used it was hard to project how much it'd ferment, so it's only 11.4%.  Buncha slack-jawed yokels up there.

When I bought this, for some reason I thought it was a porter.  I don't really know why, though, just some odd preconception based on no information whatsoever. But this is definitely not a porter- it's a big-ass strong ale, though it's got bits and pieces of other styles in there as well.  The beer is completely opaque- if you hold it up to the light, you don't see the light.  It smells like the strong ale it is, boozy and with a bunch of rich roasted malt and dark fruity sweetness.

It's kind of an orgy of beer-styles, kind of hard to pin down.  It kind of tastes like a porter up front, with coffee and dark chocolate, with a little bit of bitterness, less than I'd anticipated given that it's 80 IBU.  It's very sweet, almost like a doppelbock.  And it's rich and raisiny like a quad.  The booze is pretty strong, and don't let it warm too much- once it does, the alcohol and sweetness run roughshod over everything else and it becomes really cloying and hard to drink.

It's all over the place stylistically, which in my opinion is one of its strengths.  You never quite know know what you're going to get.  Good for Stone for pushing the envelope a little bit, because this isn't something in their usual style at all.  And at that price, you'd be stupid to pass it up.

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